Keep In Touch Programme – A Day to Remember
13 June 2023 | Candice Pellett OBE RN DN Queen’s Nurse
I am a member of the Keep In Touch programme and I have been phoning Jacky every week for the past 5 years – what a privilege it has been to hear about her past nursing career, her family and to chat about nursing issues on a regular basis.
Some weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to St Paul’s Cathedral in London to The 58th Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service and I asked Jacky if she would like to come with me. The service is usually held every year in May at Westminster Abbey, but had been moved this year to St Paul’s because of the Coronation Service of Their Majesties King Charles lll and Queen Camilla.
I was delighted when Jacky said she was free that day and would be able to come to London – and so the planning began in earnest! My husband said he would travel to London with us and then do some sight-seeing whilst Jacky and I were in St. Pauls, so we decided we would drive to Cambridge, then get the train to Kings Cross as it stopped at a station near where Jacky lives. A neighbour had kindly offered to take Jacky to the station and meet her at the end of the day.
As we left Cambridge station I sent a text to Jacky to let her know which carriage we were in, and from then on the day went like clockwork. We met Jacky on the train and got a taxi at Kings Cross that took us right outside St. Paul’s where we first went to a coffee shop for lunch, as Jacky had been there in the past with her husband and she knew the area.
I had already arranged that we would enter the Cathedral via a side entrance with easier access, and had confirmed that we would have accessible seats. We breezed through security following a bag search, and were taken to our seats right at the front, where we had a bird’s eye view of everything that happened during the Service.
I am a member of the Keep In Touch programme and I have been phoning Jacky every week for the past 5 years - what a privilege it has been to hear about her past nursing career, her family and to chat about nursing issues on a regular basis.Candice Pellett OBE RN DN Queen’s Nurse
The whole event was wonderful, filled with music from the organ before and during the service, along with the Choir of St Paul’s Cathedral and the Band of The Prince of Wales. It was also very poignant as we remembered nurses and midwives named in two rolls of honour; the Covid-19 Pandemic Roll of Honour dedicated to all nurses, midwives, nursing associates and health care support workers who courageously and selflessly provided care during the Covid-19 pandemic, which was carried through the Cathedral by the Chief Nursing officers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the Commonwealth Roll of Honour commemorating nurses who lost their lives on active service in the Second World War, which was carried by a military nurse and escorted by the Chief Nursing Officers of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force.
Later during the Service a burning lamp “The Procession of the Lamp” was carried through the Cathedral with a procession of Health Care professionals including student nurses and midwives to signify the transfer of nursing and midwifery knowledge to future nurses and midwives. The lamp was then placed on the altar followed by an Act of Dedication and hymn.
Following the sermon, hymns and prayers, the Service concluded with the National Anthem. As we left the Cathedral Jacky said that “it was a privilege to be able to participate in the day and we must never lose sight of the standards and dedication to service that Florence instilled in the nursing profession, and it is such an honour to follow in her footsteps.”
After the Service my husband was waiting outside and we decided between us we would eat before we headed home. There was a pizza restaurant by the cathedral and we had a lovely meal. Two ladies on the next table turned out to be Admiral Nurses and we had a wonderful time chatting to them and they both thought the Keep In Touch programme was great and said they were taking the idea back with them to see if it could be put in place in their work area.
We had a fabulous day creating many happy memories giving Jacky and I lots to chat about during our future weekly catch-ups.
Candice Pellett OBE RN DN Queen’s Nurse